Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/530/4034
Shelter workers escalate action
SHELTER MANAGEMENT'S recent derisory offer to its workforce has got the answer it deserved. Workers voted 64% to reject it and escalate strike action, on a 56% turnout. So Shelter workers will strike again on 24-25 April to coincide with the 24 April public-sector strikes.
A Shelter worker
Following two strike days in March, management offered a paltry £150 one-off payment to staff plus a lump sum to some workers in lieu of abolishing the incremental pay scheme. This paves the way to the introduction of performance-related pay. Staff were angered at the offer as it failed to address workers' main concerns, leaving little doubt that management are completely out of touch with their workforce.
Management refused to withdraw dismissal notices to those opposing cuts. Shelter managers have been pressurising staff to sign contract variation letters and have issued dismissal notices to those who refused. The first dismissal notices will take effect on 23 April. Managers are offering staff their jobs back but on worse terms and conditions.
Senior management also refused to back down on the extension of the working week with no extra pay. This will especially affect those with caring responsibilities who will face wage cuts and extra child care costs.
Striking Shelter workers have received widespread support, especially from other voluntary sector workers who realise this struggle represents something beyond Shelter: the voluntary and private sectors (the 'third sector') are pressurised by the New Labour government to compete with each other to bid for contracts. This drives down pay and conditions and enables government to get services on the cheap.
This means Shelter staff are fighting for the future pay and conditions of the voluntary sector and also attempting to defend high-quality services for those in need of housing advice.
Alternatively, please make cheques payable to 'Shelter Strike Fund' and send them to: Shelter Stewards, c/o 48 Swindon Close, Gorton, Manchester, M18 8JQ. Messages of support to: firstname.lastname@example.org
In The Socialist 23 April 2008:
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party election campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
The Socialist Interview
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party review
International socialist news and analysis